The 42nd Mid-Atlantic Macromolecular Crystallography Meeting (MAMCM) will be held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, from May 31st through June 2nd, 2012. There is no registration fee.
The MAMCM serves as a platform for the presentation of the latest research results and technical advances, and as a forum to facilitate discussions amongst structural biologists in the mid-Atlantic region.
This year the keynote speaker will be Dr. William Weis from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The meeting will also feature two interactive workshops: a Structure Determination Workshop led by Drs. Chruszcz and Cooper of Dr. Wladek Minor’s laboratory and featuring Dr. Jim Pflugrath, and a Lipidic Cubic Phase (LCP) Crystallization Workshop led by Dr. Vadim Cherezov of The Scripps Research Institute.
Platform presentations will be selected from submitted abstracts. Preference will be given to young researchers (students and fellows), and a Student/Fellow Poster Prize(s) will also be awarded.
Did someone order more centrifuge tubes? Have they arrived? Are they back ordered?
Most labs have a hacked together ordering and management system that is very inefficient. For example, after an item runs out, write it on a whiteboard, every couple of days the order is placed (items are erased, when was the ordered placed?), mean while another person requests the same item leading to a duplicate order. We’re often unaware of the status of an order and after it arrives, hope that person that picks the item up, signs the printed order form so we know its available.
The method that most labs use is functional, but certainly inefficient. My friends over at Quartzy have been working on a free solution that helps to make lab management easier. The backbone component of Quartzy is to provide a centralized location for all laboratory information. For example, you can invite departmental purchasing agents onto the platform and easily communicate which grant a purchase should be assigned.
Beyond tracking and organizing purchases, Quartzy allows you to generate prepopulated purchase order forms (requisition forms).
I’ve always thought it was ridiculous having to copy purchase order information over 2-3 times. A small suggestion would be to add an input option for entering unique purchase order numbers/IDs as some departments issue them for internal tracking.
Quartzy also provides a centralized location for group updates. I can’t tell you how many times a lab member didn’t get the journal article before group meeting due to some email issue.
You can also add your current inventory, which for certain institutions is now required and once the information is entered it is easier to maintain than using a spreadsheet. You can also rate the items, which can be especially helpful for products like antibodies that can be quite unpredictable. A protocol module allows for easy sharing and saves hunting through old lab notebooks.
In addition, there is a module for facility sign up for your lab. Labs that I’ve worked in usually use a printed calendar that allows users to block off the time slots. A problem with this method is that people will block off times, just in case, since in order to sign up you have be by the machine. This helps solve the problem by moving the form online essentially giving everyone access to sign up.
The profile pages allow you to quickly (2 clicks) import your publication list from PubMed as well as posters and talks! This feature could be especially useful for bringing a new lab member up to date on the current projects underway. I see many researchers list their publications on a group webpage, but they usually are not maintained. This is usually do to researchers being too busy or having to contact the IT department for updates. Unfortunately, a list that doesn’t that isn’t maintained can give the impression that no publications have been produced in recent years.
1) Allow files such as journal articles to be uploaded in group updates. This would help prevent issues related to not everyone attaining the article via email (person wasn’t added to the list, spam folder, etc…).
2) The input data for composing a message could be clarified a bit, an email address can’t be used in the To: field. I was using a demo account just for myself so perhaps it may auto-fill or work more smoothly if you have additional group members.
3) Consider adding dummy data to allow users to get an immediate feel for how organized the lab can become. After my initial login, I had this feeling of … now what? but after loading up a couple of items and posting some group updates the benefits became readily apparent.
Posted by Sean
| Tagged: Quartzy